10/30/2011 11:44AM

Breeders' Cup: Pletcher pleased by Uncle Mo's final work before Classic

Email
Barbara D. Livingston
Uncle Mo breezes five furlongs in 1:01.18 Sunday under John Velazquez.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Led by Uncle Mo and Stay Thirsty, Todd Pletcher’s candidates for the Breeders’ Cup Classic, four Classic runners had their final works at Churchill Downs on Sunday morning, and two more worked elsewhere, as final preparations were made for Saturday’s $5 million race here.

Uncle Mo was by far the most-watched and analyzed work, owing to his compelling comeback from a serious illness earlier this year. Working alone shortly after the mid-morning renovation break and with jockey John Velazquez aboard, he was timed by Daily Racing Form in 1:01.18 for five furlongs on a fast main track.

“He was in a good, steady rhythm. He’s coming to the race as well as can be,” Pletcher said.

Stay Thirsty worked a few minutes later, in company with the older horse Rule, and was timed in 1:00.46 while outworking Rule. Jockey Javier Castellano was up.

“He’s laid back, but when you ask him to do something, he does,” Castellano said. “He handled the track well. He was pulling, and he galloped out good.”

Earlier in the morning, before dawn, Flat Out whistled through a half-mile drill in 46.50 seconds for trainer Scooter Dickey, and To Honor and Serve went five furlongs in 1:00.19, including a final quarter in 23.61 seconds, for trainer Bill Mott.

“That was very good, good or better than last week,” Mott said. “That’s what I was looking for, a strong final quarter, particularly when they do it that quickly and on their own.”

At the nearby Churchill Downs Trackside training center, Headache worked five furlongs in 1:00.60 for trainer Mike Maker, while at Santa Anita, Game On Dude  breezed six furlongs in 1:12.20.

The filly Havre de Grace arrived at Churchill Downs on Saturday afternoon and galloped over the track Sunday morning. She was the first horse on the track after the break, with trainer Larry Jones aboard.

“I didn’t want her to learn to be following anyone,” Jones quipped.

Jones on Saturday said that Havre de Grace would only be entered in the Classic on Monday. She will not also be entered in the Ladies’ Classic, to be run Friday.

When entries are taken and post positions drawn on Monday afternoon, the Classic field is expected to be Drosselmeyer (Mike Smith the rider), Flat Out (Alex Solis), Game On Dude (Chantal Sutherland), Havre de Grace (Ramon Dominguez), Headache (Paco Lopez), Ice Box (Corey Nakatani), Prayer For Relief (Rafael Bejarano), Rattlesnake Bridge (Calvin Borel), Ruler On Ice (Garrett Gomez), So You Think (Ryan Moore), Stay Thirsty (Castellano), To Honor and Serve (Jose Lezcano), Uncle Mo (Velazquez), and possibly Await the Dawn.